MISSOULA — The Missoula Hellgate girls have had extremely young rosters the past two seasons. The Knights have had one senior on each of those rosters, and it’s the same case in 2021.
However, something makes this team different, as the rest of the squad is all juniors, finally giving the Knights an age advantage.
The Knights don't just return a number of players but starters like Bailee Sayler, Addy Heaphy, and Perry Paffhausen.
“Age to me doesn’t matter. (The juniors) were just as good last year -- I mean, they got better, but we were still a solid group of girls," said Hellgate senior Austynn Covill. "I am a senior and them being juniors I know when I got older I felt more confident, especially playing, so I feel like we are all really confident and super excited for the season. Hopefully we get to play a lot of games and it doesn’t get shut down.”
The Hellgate girls know expectations are high, but they’re confident heading into Thursday's season opener against Helena High.
“We are just trying to do the best that we can," said junior Kennedy Mccorkle. "I think we are pretty confident with what we have and what we do and our skill set and stuff. We are just trying to take it one step at a time.”
While the Knights have lofty goals, they’re still working toward perfection.
“I feel like we need to work on communicating more, just speaking," Covill said. "We talk a lot off the court, but on the court I feel like we kind of freeze up and go silent, so if we could be loud and talk that would really help, because other than that we are all on the same page. Just communication really helps.”